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Black Girls and Nappy Roots:Natural

Online Editor

Published: Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 11:02

I don't care about hair. If I had to cut it off it wouldn't even faze me. At the same time, I also love my hair because I am becoming more comfortable with it as time passes.

One of the highlights of my first visit to Howard my sophomore year in high school was when I saw the most beautiful girl with a huge Afro.

I was awe struck, because back home in Connecticut it wasn't common to see a black girl wearing her hair natural. I got the impression that this place was different.

It was a place where you could express yourself without society's negative stereotypes of black beauty bearing down on you; a place where you could you find yourself.
Well that's exactly how I feel today. I'm not sorry that a comb can't run through my hair without a struggle.

Yes, it's nappy and that's how it's supposed to be. It makes me upset that I ever thought my hair wasn't beautiful for what it is. I wish that I never had to go natural because I already was. Yes, its just hair but the history that this hair has runs so deep that it represents more that what it is on the exterior.

One of our own Howard women was discriminated against by Ruby Tuesday's last year, because she was wearing box braids. In a column titled "The Perilous Politics of Hair," written by Grace Salvant for The Root, she explained how someone she spoke with over the phone said that it wasn't a ‘race thing' but rather an ‘image thing.' An ‘image' that I believe we shouldn't be afraid to have even if society wants to hold us in contempt.

What makes me proud of natural hair is the history behind it. I know I wasn't thinking about its history as my scalp was burning or when I dipped into my account to feed my addiction to straight hair.

The history of relaxers brings us to time when we believed that in order to assimilate into society we had to have straight hair because that's what was accepted. I don't know of any study that's been done to refute this in present-day.

Recently, Chris Rock premiered his documentary, "Good Hair" at the Sundance Film festival. He was inspired to create the film after his daughter asked him ‘Daddy why don't I have good hair?' She asked this question in the 21st century. The ability to turn natural from kinky was discovered a century ago. 

Garret Augustus Morgan, who is also responsible for the invention of the gas mask and the automatic traffic light, discovered the first relaxer in 1910.

He stumbled upon his creation while working on creating a lubricant for the machine needle.

He wiped his hands on a wool cloth when he came back to the cloth the next morning he woke up to find that the cloth was straight. He proceeded to testing the lubricant on an Airedale dog, which is known for its curly textured hair.

If little girls are still asking why don't they have good hair, there is no way the Eurocentric beauty being dominant has changed. 

I hope that as future leaders in the global community, we can join together to educate the world and especially our community.

I'm not knocking relaxers, but coming from someone who wore them from age 12-18, having natural hair feels great.

If I had to use a simile to describe how I felt while wearing a relaxer, I'd say it was like wearing a faux fur. It just didn't feel like the real thing to me. I understand that everyone has their own belief as to why relaxers are necessary or justifiable. Somehow, I justified it for six years, but in the end being natural just came naturally.

I understand that it isn't the easiest decision for some to make. However I do believe that all black women should embrace their natural beauty because it's a part of  our history and struggle in this country.

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